Unlicensed asbestos removal

Date created: Date modified: 26 Jan 2024

Asbestos removal occurs in residential, commercial and public buildings and is carried out by workers in a workplace context, as well as by non-workers, for example homeowners when undertaking DIY renovations.

There are ongoing calls to prohibit unlicensed asbestos removal due to concerns about misuse of the 10m2 exception leading to asbestos exposure risks. The exception allows a tradesperson doing other work to remove incidental asbestos in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner. Without the exception, their option is either to stop work and engage a licensed removalist or to leave in situ and work around it.

This report examines the advantages and disadvantages of completely removing the 10m2 exception, noting that this would not address situations where WHS laws do not apply, for example when a home owner decides to remove asbestos themselves. It identifies a range of policy options to enhance WHS, public health and environment protection laws to address concerns associated with unlicensed asbestos removal. This includes explicitly clarifying that public health laws do apply to asbestos as it can cause harm to public health and to include more specific control measures like Queensland’s Public Health Regulation 2005.